Greek Defense Ministry Nikos Panagiotopoulos on Thursday stressed the government’s commitment to boosting the country’s flagging defense industry.
“It is of strategic importance for the country’s armed forces can rely on a defense industry that is, at the very least, competitive and helps them in their work,” the minister said during a presentation to a parliamentary committee of the government’s candidates for president and CEO of the state-owned Hellenic Defense Systems (EAS) company.
“We are interested in the viability of the existing elements of the defense industry, but also in expanding and strengthening the domestic defense industry with new activities,” Panagiotopoulos said, adding that there is a plan in the pipeline for an exclusively Greek assembly plant for unmanned aerial vehicles.
Responding to questions regarding EAS’s finances, Panagiotopoulos said the new board will be tasked with assessing the firm’s viability and planning the next steps, while also expressing optimism that the Ministry of Finance will step in to help the company “reach its potential.”
He dismissed criticism that the government is seeking to privatize the company, saying that while it is looking for an investor, he would like to see this done in the “framework of a strategic cooperation.”
The committee approved Athanasios Tsiolkas as president of the new EAS board and Nikolaos Kostopoulos as its chief executive.